Blog 24.02.2020

The DofE Buff braves Snowdon

By James Poots, Gold DofE participant

We are a group of nine sixth form students from Cox Green School in Maidenhead who are doing our Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. We are the first group ever in our school to attempt this, and none of us had ever done any other DofE Awards – we all went straight to Gold.

Our practice expedition to the Brecon Beacons in April was a real learning experience for us.

Abbie had never camped before and Ben had never shared a room, never mind a tent. Maison seriously over-packed and paid the price, and Megan and James both managed to get wind/sun-burnt despite it being really cold.  Ben said that we didn’t fully appreciate how important our kit would be and how much we would rely on it.

When we set off for our qualifying expedition to Snowdonia National Park in July we were better prepared, with a lighter rucksack for Maison and DofE Buffs for everyone. We had learnt how important packing is, and how vital it is that you don’t take anything bigger or heavier than necessary.

The DofE Buff is a real winner here – the micro-fibre versatile outdoor accessory is so light and small that you really don’t notice you’re carrying it. It can fit easily into your pocket, but, to be honest, they didn’t spend much time in our pockets as we were wearing them one way or another most of the time.

None of us got sunburnt this time thanks to wearing our Buffs in a mixture of balaclava style (Adam and Tom – we often didn’t know who was who as we could only see their eyes), or neck gaiter style (James and Maison). Abbie, Molly and Megan all wore theirs as a hairband, and Megan was also spotted sporting hers in the foulard style on occasion.

We had all types of extreme weather, and our Buffs amazingly managed to help keep us cool when it was hot, and warm when it was cold. When it was very hot, James and Maison dipped their Buffs in water and wore them wet as headbands to help them cool down.

After we completed our expedition, we stayed an extra day to summit Snowdon; we had torrential rain and the Buffs were the first thing to dry off once the rain finally stopped.

We are all sad that we don’t get to do any more expeditions together, but we have amazing memories of a wonderful shared experience that will last a lifetime.

We are all also expert expedition packers – and the first item on our lists for any future adventures will definitely be our DofE Buff.

Get your own DofE Buff for £15.95, with all profits donated to the DofE charity.